June 29, 2010 by Patrick Madrid Filed under Patrick's Blog
I find it hard to believe that you are making the case that someone–anyone–can be worthy of ridicule.
How can putting people down be good for our society or our Church? The end does not justify the means. If Joe Biden mocks someone, you can be sure Catholic bloggers would be admonishing him as uncivil and uncharitable. Or should he be as free to mock as you suggest?
People do need to be made aware of Biden's behavior, but not at the expense of civility and charitable behavior. One problem with today's media–especially talk radio–is that it feels it must shock the listener, desperate in its search for an audience. If we Catholics do not try to live up to our call to love others, how can we draw people to the Gospel?
As far as the Church Fathers are concerned, neither you or I know what the Church Fathers confessed during their lifetimes. Perhaps they looked back and saw that occasionally they acted arrogantly, rudely or uncharitably. Just because a Church Father did it, doesn't make it right. They were as human as you and I.
Mockery and ridicule will not convince people of the truth of Christianity. And if it did, would we want converts who chose our religion based on the fact that we were better at tearing down those who disagree with us? How can we on the one hand say that we follow the God of love, and on the other admit that some people are worthy of mockery? Would Jesus agree with that?
I'm not asking for perfection; I can be arrogant and judgmental at times myself, which I am constantly trying to remedy. Rather, I just want an acknowledgment that mockery and ridicule have no place in Christian discourse, though it occasionally slips in out of human weakness.
I appreciate your willingness to take time and discuss this.
At a Bible Study on the book of Hosea, it was pointed out how God can actively intervene in our lives to prevent us from sinning.
The specific passage was Hosea 2:6-7, where God lovingly prevents access to the occasion for sin.
This passage from Numbers shows that God can accomplish the same goal by sufficiently scaring your ass.
Well, I'm glad we can at least agree that Mr. Biden shouldn't be in office. But I guess I have to disagree with you about the ridicule aspect. He certainly is worthy of ridicule, and given his egregious antics and un-Catholic behavior while in office, I believe it's well worth drawing attention to that. I had asked an earlier poster if he had read the Church Fathers (many of whom are saints, as you know) because they were masters at using satire, ridicule, and mockery as rhetorical tools to both rebuke the wayward and warn the faithful. When done properly, it can be a useful method. Even if you disagree with my use of such things on this blog, I am confident that you would agree that the Fathers who did this did not lose their souls as a result of it.
Thanks for clarifying, Patrick. Sorry if I missed your point. It's not as clear as it seems, however, by just this one post. And I had just come from your Facebook page earlier today where you posted about the GE Division chief collapsing during Biden's speech and said, "My guess is that he collapsed from boredom. Or maybe from laughter." And did you notice how that one comment, seemingly harmless, led to more discourteous comments? You give your readers "permission" to act uncharitably by postings like this.
I'd like Biden out of office, too, but not by ridiculing him out. Let's raise our level of discourse, and not lose our souls to gain the whole world.
Thanks for the opportunity to air my concerns.
I am not sure how the caption implies our esteemed Vice President Mr. Joe Biden to be a smart ass. I don't see this as name calling at all. But then I'm a pretty dumb one.
The store owner was smart to suggest cutting taxes to stimulate business. A freshman economics class confirms that rudimentary axiom. Re: the ass, I know the president is looking for an ass to kick; he need not look far. This November, the voters will kick a donkey or ass, I'm sure. But to cap this commentary, I quote St. John Vianney who went criticized to be a complete ass responded, "If God can slew hundereds of Philistines with the jawbone of an ass, imagine what he can do with a complete ass."
Hello, Nick. I understand your point, but I don't think you understood mine. I was not calling Mr. Biden a smart ass. I was referring to the fact that *he* called a shop keeper a smart ass. And by saying, "forget about Joe Biden," I was referring to forgetting about his coarse name calling and take a look at something the Bible says about a real "ass" who said something intelligent. Please don't be so quick to rap me for this.
Mr. Madrid, I would appreciate it if you would raise the level of your discourse above name calling. I disagree with most of what Joe Biden has to say, but calling him a smart ass does little to spread the gospel.
You're a significant voice in Catholic communication. Please consider the example you set to fellow believers.
About time I think I have nothing to say that would help anyone love God more I remember the dumb ass. I figure if God can use him, He can probably find a use for me.
This one and the story about the she-bears in 2 Kings 2 are a couple of my favorite stories!
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